Govt predicts farm sector growth at 2.6% this fiscal

Govt predicts farm sector growth at 2.6% this fiscal


New Delhi: The government today pegged growth forecast for the farm sector at just 2.6% for 2008-09, though the agriculture ministry hopes the pace of expansion may accelerate if weather remains favourable.

But the ministry has reconciled to the fact that the targeted growth rate of 4% may not be achieved this year.

“Four per cent growth rate will not be achieved, but it may go up from 2.6%," a top government official said, adding that a clearer picture would emerge only after the rabi harvest.

Commenting on the Central Statistical Organisation (CSO) estimate of 2.6% for the farm sector, he said, “It looks OK seeing the weather conditions last year."

Rabi crops start arriving in the markets from March. The next 15-20 days are crucial for good production this year as far as temperature and other weather conditions are concerned, a senior official said.

In a statement, CSO said that the agriculture, forestry and fishing sector is likely to show a growth rate of 2.6% during 2008-09 against previous year’s 4.9%. The country witnessed a record foodgrain production of 230.67 million tonnes last year.

The projection is based on “anticipated growth rates of 6% in horticultural crops, 5.5% in the livestock products and 6% in fisheries", it added.